LAST UPDATED: April 29, 2019
Best Diesel Fuel Additives: Improve Your Fuel Economy and Engine Performance
Maximize your fuel efficiency and save money with these top diesel fuel additives
The Review Team
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PUBLISHED ON April 29, 2019
There are many reasons why you should consider buying a diesel fuel additive for your vehicle. It could be that you're tired of the rising prices of diesel or just want to improve your engine performance. Whatever it is, we've got you covered with the best diesel fuel additive reviews and recommendations.
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All of our reviews are based on market research, expert input, or practical experience with most products we include. This way, we offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.
Why Buy Diesel Fuel Additives?
- Save money. Diesel fuel additives work by reducing the vehicle’s fuel consumption and cost of repairs. Eventually, you will find yourself spending less money on fuel and other running costs of your vehicle.
- Improve engine performance. The diesel fuel additive works by improving the temperature and the velocity which the diesel burns. In turn, that helps the engine to perform better and increase the power capacity.
- Easier vehicle maintenance. The best diesel additives contain lubrication and corrosion inhibitors that not only reduce wear and tear but also prevent breakdown. This will enable you to drive for a longer period without maintenance checks.
- Drive during winter. Usually, the diesel in your fuel tank will start to crystallize when exposed to very low temperatures during winter. The worst case scenario is you won't be able to drive anywhere and even if you do, the waxy diesel will damage your engine parts. However, diesel fuel additive can act as an antidote and solve the problem.
- Reduce exhaust emissions. Since diesel fuel additive can improve engine performance and reduce fuel consumption, there is less carbon dioxide exhaust emission. Alternatively, diesel additives can cut off smoke emission by removing excessive gunk buildup.
Types of Diesel Fuel Additives
It’s quite normal for the quality of diesel to diminish over time after the refinement and storage process before consumption. It could be either oxidation or degradation that causes the diesel to lose its touch. Whatever it is, fuel stabilizers are purposely designed to maintain the quality of your diesel and prevent oxidation, degradation, or breakdown.
These types of diesel fuel additives are responsible for improving fuel combustion and reducing the ignition delay time. The higher the cetane boost, the better the diesel engine efficiency. Apart from improving the engine performance, cetane boosters cut off smoke emissions, deposits, and slow down the fuel consumption without compromising the quality.
Fuel Injector Detergents
Like every other organic substance, diesel can accumulate bacteria, molds, yields, or other deposits. However, fuel injector detergents can clean any wanted dirt that is blocking your vehicle's injector nozzle. Also, such detergents can also clean other engine parts that are exposed to diesel. Afterward, you can expect the acceleration and hard start to improve.
Even though the water found in diesel is useful for condensation and stabilizing fuel temperature, the dissolved salt can cause crystallization, which eventually leads to rust and corrosions. Nevertheless, corrosion inhibitors serve a purpose to intercept the crystallized salt and prevent rust or corrosion. Typically, corrosion inhibitors contain metal or alloy chemical compounds.
If you're living in extremely cold areas, the diesel fuel filter can get blocked due to accumulated wax or gel formation in the diesel. Anti-gel additives are made to prevent the viscous effect in diesel during cold weather and improve cold-starting performance. Additionally, anti-gel additives can also unblock diesel fuel filters.
Lucas Oil is one of the most popular automobile lubricants and fuel additives manufacturers in North America. The company, which was founded in 1989 and eventually grew to become a multi-million dollar company, is headquartered in California, United States. Its highest selling diesel fuel treatment product is the Lucas 10013 Fuel Treatment.
Founded more than a century ago in 1876, Stanadyne is a company with a long history of inventing groundbreaking products. At the moment, Stanadyne specializes in manufacturing gasoline and diesel fuel systems. Also, it's one of the leading brands of fuel additives. Its top-rated item is the Stanadyne Performance Formula.
After starting out in 1920 as a company that manufactures lubricants, Howes expanded to become one of the best diesel fuel additives brands. The company’s headquarters is in North Kingston, R.I. One of its most used fuel additives for diesel trucks is the Howes Diesel Treat.
- Under $20: There are a few diesel fuel additives formula sold under $20 which you shouldn’t underestimate, considering their reliability and efficiency.
- $20-$50: Most diesel fuel additives fall under this price range. In contrast to products sold under $20, most items in this category have a larger size.
- $50-$150: Diesel fuel treatment products in this price range are sold in double or multiple containers that would be cheaper if you buy combined rather than separately.
The best diesel fuel engine cleaner should contain no alcohol. The logic behind it is simple; alcohol can damage vital engine parts such as O-rings and seals. Not to mention, it can destabilize compression. Instead, it is better to choose diesel fuel additives with detergents which will unlikely cause any harm compared to alcohol solvent formula.
A top-quality diesel fuel additive product should reduce fuel emissions and comply with environmental regulations. That means that the chemicals used to manufacture the formula ought to minimize the effect on the environment. Always ensure that you read the label carefully and check out if the product is EPA-approved.
Before you buy diesel fuel additive, it's critical that you examine if it can remove water through dispersants or emulsifiers. Of course, diesel contains a small percentage of water properties, but if the water is not removed, it can cause a lot of trouble during winter, plus corrosion, and microbial contamination problems.
- Type of Diesel Fuel Additive: There is no all-in-one diesel additive formula available in the market. However, there are diesel treatment products with dual or multi-functionality. Before you make a purchase, it’s important to know what specific type of diesel fuel additive you prefer. For instance, if you’re into racing, it would make sense to search for the additive that is utilized for racing cars.
- Engine Compatibility: Just like how diesel fuel additives are designed for different functionality, there are additives that are only compatible with specific diesel engines. The best fuel additives for diesel trucks should be compatible with most types of diesel engines and fuel systems. Alternatively, there are fuel additives that can be used for general use.
- Treatment Convenience: Depending on the type of product, you can either top up after every refuel or every once in a while. Even though you’re unlikely to forget after every refueling interval, it can be costly in the long run. On the other hand, diesel fuel additives that only need to be used after a longer duration are cheaper but easier to forget the schedule. Regardless, you should choose whichever works out for you.
Best Diesel Fuel Additive Reviews & Recommendations 2020
Hot Shot's Secret Diesel Extreme is a reliable fuel treatment that cleans and protects the engine while also improving its overall performance. The product cleans injector tips, cylinders, fuel lines, and the tank. It boosts cetane up to 7 points. It also eliminates smoke, promotes quick starts, even in cold weather, increases mileage, and much more.
The main benefit of this product is the powerful formula that cleans the engine and removes excess water. It also removes moisture and prevents dirt from piling up, protecting the vehicle for a long time. While cleaning and stabilizing the fuel system, Diesel Extreme ensures your vehicle stays at peak power all the time. The bottle contains 32 ounces, which should be enough for regular maintenance.
What can be an issue with this product is the bottle design. A small funnel allows for the liquid to drip down the bottle, which creates a mess. The product requires careful handling, especially considering that the content is black and difficult to wash. It also has a strong odor. Protective gloves are recommended as well as some kind of protection for the garage floors and the vehicle surface.
Looking for a diesel fuel additive to last you through winter? Howes Diesel Treat is an anti-gel that can save your diesel engine during harsh cold winter conditions. In fact, it can reduce your diesel cold filter plugging by 20 degrees. The 32-ounce product is enough to treat 150 gallons of diesel fuel.
The best feature of Howes Diesel Treat is its anti-water removal characteristics, which prevent water from freezing and blocking the fuel filters. Further, it can make your diesel engine run smoother by improving the cetane rating and reducing the possibility of buildup on the fuel injectors. To top it off, it can blend with all types of diesel, including low-sulfur and biodiesel.
This particular diesel fuel additive is an anti-gel but not a detergent. So, if you own an old vehicle and you want to clean the fuel system, it is better you seek other alternatives. However, the Howes Diesel Treat is more of prevention rather than a cure in the sense that it can lower the probability of water solidifying and blocking the fuel injector.
Lucas Oil is a household name among car drivers, and the Lucas 10013 Fuel Treatment is proof of its reliability. The product can be used as either a lubricant or a cleaner for your fuel system. Additionally, the formula contains no solvent, and it can treat both diesel and gasoline engines.
When blended with diesel, it can neutralize the fuel to lower the sulfur levels and the exhaust emission. Also, it will lubricate and clean the fuel injector and carburetor, which is vital for better engine performance. Besides, it may help to extend the longevity of your engine parts. Quite exceptional, it can improve your cetane rates from five to nine, which makes it one of the best cetane boosters.
The biggest downside is that it isn't ideal for trucks with very big fuel tanks. Even though it contains a detergent formula, it could be a challenge to clean huge fuel systems with an overwhelming amount of moisture, sulfur, and carbon deposits.
If you're looking for a multi-purpose product you can use on different engines, this is an excellent choice. The Gumout treatment can be used in gas, ethanol, diesel, and biodiesel engines. It's completely safe and very effective, and you get to apply it to all kinds of vehicles, tools, and machines.
The product features a powerful formula that enhances overall engine performance and influences fuel economy. It cleans and protects the engine by removing harmful substances and preventing deposits from piling up over time. It even prevents rust and corrosion and stabilizes fuel for up to two years. All of that makes the vehicle run smoother and quieter and prolongs its lifespan. The product comes in a 16-ounce bottle and lasts for quite some time.
The only thing that could bother you is the application. It's difficult to pour the liquid from the bottle directly into the tank, and some spills and leaks might occur. Also, you might need to be a little patient with this treatment because the overall results might not be immediately noticeable.
This is a high-quality product coming from a well-known company, Liqui Moly. Diesel Purge is a fuel treatment that cleans the entire fuel system and removes all possible harmful substances and deposits. It's efficient and very popular among drivers. It comes in a 16-ounce bottle.
What makes this product so special is its powerful formula. It works to clean and maintain the entire fuel system, which means it enhances the overall engine performance. The treatment improves fuel economy, reduces smoke and other harmful emissions, and makes the engine run flawlessly again. As a result, the vehicle runs smoother and quieter, allowing for a more enjoyable ride.
There are a couple of things to keep in mind when using this product, however. First, some users didn't notice any particular improvement in gas mileage, so the results are inconsistent. Second, it's crucial to use the right amount of liquid to avoid causing damage to the injectors. Carefully follow the provided instructions, especially if you've never used these kinds of products before.
The Sta-Bil diesel fuel stabilizer is designed to enhance overall vehicle performance by cleaning and lubricating the fuel system. It prevents sludge and sediment formations and protects against corrosion. The liquid is quite efficient in reducing oxidation, removing water, and maintaining the engine overall.
The product comes in a 32-ounce bottle. It's completely safe to use on all diesel engines, even after every fill-up. The rate is simple: an ounce of liquid covers 10 gallons of fuel. At this rate, the product should last for a year or more, allowing for quick vehicle starts and flawless engine performance.
The biggest drawback of this product is the cap design. Once opened, the bottle doesn't seal tight, and it might leak. It's not possible, therefore, to keep the bottle in the vehicle because the liquid might pour out during rides. Some users also noticed that the liquid is overall difficult to pour, especially when there’s a small amount left at the bottom of the bottle.
Tips & Advice for Diesel Fuel Additives
- Always follow the prescribed dosage when adding diesel fuel additive. Keep in mind that if you add excess diesel additive treatment, you may cause poor filterability and even cause a blockage.
- Rather than mixing and blending additive with diesel fuel and adding the mixture into the tank, it would be easier and more convenient to inject the diesel fuel additive into the fuel tank when refilling.
- There are certain mixing and blending equipment that you can purchase to avoid insufficient mixing especially if you’re driving heavy trucks. For instance, you could use a fuel injector quill or a static mixer to improve the mixing chemistry.
- If you’re adding diesel fuel additive to prevent crystallization during winter, you must add the additive before the fuel is below cloud point. Otherwise, if you add the additive after the fuel crystalizes, it won’t do much to help the situation.
- For those who are living in regions where temperatures fluctuate rapidly, it is better to seek out additives with very dilute formula. Also, an all-season diesel treatment could be your best option.
Q: Does using diesel fuel additive make my brand new vehicle’s warranty invalid?
No. According to the USA Federal Warranty Act, a vehicle manufacturer is prohibited from invalidating a warranty just because you used a fuel additive.
Q: What is cetane rating on diesel fuel?
The cetane rating is a measurement used to determine the tendency of a specific batch of diesel to ignite or burn. Basically, if the cetane rating is improved, so will the overall engine performance.
Q: Do diesel fuel additives really work?
Fuel additives prevent your fuel system from wearing down and can prevent an increase in fuel consumption caused by fouled components.
Q: What is the cleanest diesel fuel?
The cleanest diesel fuels contain 97-percent less sulfur, and they reduce soot emissions by 10 percent.
Q: Can fuel additives damage your engine?
Fuel additives aren't damaging as long as you follow the instructions and use them as directed.
Q: How do you rejuvenate old diesel fuel?
To recondition old diesel fuel you can use PRI-D Diesel Fuel Treatment. It's designed to restore degraded fuel.
Q: When should I use diesel fuel additives?
If you want to prevent injector damage caused by water and deposits, fuel additives can help. Fuel additives also dissolve the asphaltenes that are responsible for fuel filter plugging.
Our top pick for the best diesel fuel additive is Hot Shot’s Secret Diesel Extreme. The product can be used on any diesel engine, and it can enhance the overall performance of your engine.
However, if you’re looking for a cheaper option, consider the Howes Diesel Treat.